Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lao PDR: Success stories in irrigated rice presented

"It is worthwhile to invest in rice research,” said Carmen Thoennissen, senior advisor of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation or SDC.

Dr. Thoennissen's remark sums up assessment of and discussions held at the conclusion of Phase IV of the work of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC). Key success stories from Phase IV were presented and discussed at a workshop and steering committee meeting held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 21–22 November2012.

More than 50 participants from 10 Asian countries came to theworkshop in which the outcomes and impacts of the IRRC over the past four years were discussed.

A highlight of the event was a preliminary report from an international panel that is considering the impacts of the IRRC since its inception in 1997.

The SDC ends its 16-year funding of the IRRC in December 2012. The IRRC will continue beyond 2012 in a refined version. The SDC will then fund a new 8-year project on closing rice yield gaps in Asia, or CORIGAP, that will be managed under the IRRC umbrella.

Dr. Thoennissen praised IRRI's Grant Singleton for his work as coordinator of the IRRC over the past 7 years, affirming that he has been the “perfect person” for the job. She gave a presentation to Dr. Singleton on behalf of IRRI and the SDC.

Bas Bouman, director of the Global Rice Science Partnership, described once working with the IRRC as a “rich and rewarding” experience.

Workshop and meeting participants were steering committee members (Bounthong Buouhom, chair; Jesie Binamira; Pham Van Du; U Than Aye, standing in for the Myanmar representative; Dr. Thoennissen; and Dr. Bouman), IRRI staff, IRRC coordination unit staff, IRRC workgroup leaders, and various country partners.

V. Bruce J. Tolentino, deputy director general for communications and partnerships at IRRI, was also present during the event. 

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